David Loate, a Sous Chef at Sun City, has been chosen to represent South Africa in the Culinary Olympics set to take place for the 25th time in 2020 in Stuttgart, Germany’s sixth largest city. He will be amongst some 2000 chefs from 50 nations participating in the world’s largest culinary competition. The national team will present pioneering culinary trends and vie for culinary Olympic gold medals.
38 year old Loate from Brits in the North West Province is equally excited as he is nervous.
“But I am definitely up for the challenge. I thrive on being challenged, the opportunity to learn new things and being given a platform to shine,” he says, having recently been part of a training camp held at Sun City.
He has come a long way since he started working at Sun City as a casual cook in 2001 at the then Sun City Hotel, now called Soho. There he learned first-hand the ins and out of food preparation and running a kitchen. His career took an upward turn with the opening of Santorini at the Cascades. There, under the guidance of Chef Toni Troskie and General Manager, George Sakulias, he flourished. Chef Toni Troskie convinced him to back up his passion and experience with relevant qualifications.
In 2014, he approached Sun City’s Learning and Development (L&D) department for basic cooking classes and landed up in the HTA School of Culinary Art. In 2015, opportunity came knocking when a position of Sous Chef at the newly re-launched Sun Central became available.
“I applied and here I am, still having fun. I jumped at the opportunity as Sun Central is one of the resort’s busiest units,” he says enthusiastically.
According to Loate, it was his uncle who inspired him to pursue a career in the culinary arts.
“I fell in love with cooking from a very young age when my uncle, who used to be a chef, would cook and bake for us. Often, I’d help him out in the kitchen and enjoyed the experience,” he says.
Loate is still inspired by working at the vibrant Sun City.
“It is a beautiful environment, not many can claim to have such a backdrop for a workplace. The setting just inspires creativity. I also work with a wonderful team which helps to lighten my load. We also get to meet and interact with people from different parts of the world,” he says.”
He is looking forward to building on the experience he has gained so far as the South African team prepares for the Culinary Olympics. The team will be training continuously in a series of training camps until the competition in 2020.
While preparing for the Culinary Olympics, his “job” as a dad to two boys remains his priority.
“They are my priority and are like a breath of fresh air at the end of a hard day at work,” says Loate.
Raul de Lima, General Manager at Sun City, says: “We are enormously proud of David. To have one of our own chefs chosen to represent South Africa in the world’s most prestigious culinary competition is certainly a feather in our cap. This bears testimony to his passion and skills, as well as the commitment of the chefs who have taken the time to work with him over the years to hone his talents. We stand behind him every step of the way.”